Jill Wilson
Mentor Program Chair

The Iowa Choral Directors Association Mentor Program is part of a coordinated effort between AEI, IBA, ICDA, ICA, IMEA, and ISTA, all under the leadership of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE).

The Mentor Program has three components:

Observational Mentor

The mentor program pairs first and second-year teachers with retired ICDA members to act as observational mentors. These mentors will spend up to four days with a first-year teacher, and up to two days with a second-year teacher observing them teach in their home environment, giving them feedback, making literature suggestions, working with their students, helping to solve problems, and giving them tools for success. The IAAE mentor grant gives observational mentors a stipend for the day and covers travel expenses. This program has been a great success for both the mentee and mentor.

Active Mentor
ICDA supplies an experienced mentor currently teaching in similar circumstances to help the first or second-year teacher in a variety of ways. This could include help with deadline reminders, suggesting appropriate choral/vocal literature, developing curriculum, networking with other Iowa music teachers, scheduling, or classroom management, to name a few.

The IAAE grant offers first-year teachers a one-time scholarship of $250 to join professional organizations and attend state conferences.

The Fall Symposium for First Year Arts Educators is held each fall. This event is a daylong workshop designed specifically for first-year arts teachers. Sessions have included “How I Survived My First Year” to “Professionalism In and Out of the Classroom” to “Resources For the Music Classroom.” The symposium is free to all and first-year teachers will have travel expenses paid.

We strongly encourage our young ICDA members to take advantage of this program. The more a member gets involved, the more connections with inspiring music educators they will make. From those connections new music educators will learn countless strategies to improve their own teaching and the success of their students.

Click here for the Fall Symposium Brochure for this event.

Please contact Jill Wilson, ICDA mentor program chair, at mentor@iowachoral.org if you are interested in being a mentor, know of someone who needs a mentor, or have questions about the mentor program.

The IAAE Model of Excellence Mentor program is designed to improve the quality of arts education through mentoring of first-year arts teachers.
Program innovations include: identification of first-year teachers, assignment of both “active” and “observation” mentors (area-specific), development of a communications network to assist the mentoring process, development of a first-year teachers symposium, and the awarding of scholarships to join professional organizations and attend state conferences.
The Iowa Model of Excellence Mentoring Program is designed to enhance, not supplant the established local/district/state mentoring programs. The program is tailored specifically to the individual teacher and teaching situation.
The information presented ranges from “survival” to “mastery” skills needed to be successful in the arts classroom, and helps to build professional communities through mentoring, networking and collaboration.


If you would like to be a mentor, if you are a beginning teacher and would like a formal mentor, or if you would like further information about ICDA's mentor program, contact Jill Wilson at mentor@iowachoral.org.